Caroline and Leia Carrico, 5 and 8-year-old sisters from northern California who went missing in the woods on March 1 were found alive two days later.
According to Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal, the girls were found on March 3 at around 10:30 a.m. by a search and rescue team who had been scouring the area.
The girls were cold and hungry, but dry and in good spirits, NBC reported.
“I’m pleased to report that you’re all witnessing a miracle today,” the sheriff said at a Sunday news conference. “Caroline and Leia have been found safe and sound in southern Humboldt.”
Search teams followed muddy rain boot tracks and granola bar wrappers, leading them within vocal range of the girls, who were found about 1.4 miles south of where they were last seen at their home in Benbow, about 200 miles northwest of Sacramento.
#searchandrescue #update Leia and Caroline were found approximately 1.4 miles south of their residence near Richardson’s Grove. Here’s a first look from the scene where first responders located the girls.
Press release with more information as soon as possible today. pic.twitter.com/k2bUTQOtrt
— Humboldt County Sheriff (@HumCoSO) March 3, 2019
The rescue team heard a noise, Honsal said, prompting them to call out for the girls. The girls responded, and the rescue team followed the sound of their voices through a thick, dense wooded area to where the girls had been staying.
Honsal said the girls survived by drinking water off plant leaves and stayed dry and protected under a patch of huckleberry bushes.
The older sister had given her coat to her younger sister to keep warm, Honsal said.
The girls did learn some wilderness survival training through their 4-H club, which Honsal believed helped them survive.
“They were safe and sound, still ambulatory, in good spirits, not injured,” the sheriff said.
Honsal said the girls’ mother, Misty Carrico, noticed her daughters were missing at about 3 p.m. on March 1.
— Humboldt County Sheriff (@HumCoSO) March 4, 2019
“The two asked to go for a walk,” Honsal said. “The mother said, ‘No.’ And then, in the course of getting things ready and stuff, she noticed they were missing around 3 o’clock.”
After searching for her daughters alongside friends and neighbors for about 3 hours, she called the police.
The girls were reunited with their parents in a heartwarming moment that oftentimes families of missing children do not experience.
“When my two daughters Leia, age 8, and Caroline, aged 5, wandered off into the woods the whole world came to our aid,” Misty wrote on a GoFundMe page started to help repair their driveway after search and rescue operations.
“With the help of the volunteer search and rescue, technical rescue, sheriffs office, local volunteers, multiple other agencies my girls were found after 44 hours.
“My girls were found cold, tired, but alive.”
“We have so many of these kinds of efforts that end up in tears and tragedy,” said Humboldt County Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennell. “Today, we can all shed tears of joy.”
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